Please, tell me this isn't all just a retro fad. We thought sales of vinyl LPs were booming, with no signs of a slow-down. As recently as July of this year, vinyl was showing year-over-year growth of more than 41 percent in the US. And sales of LPs & EPs have more than quadrupled over the past five years, according to the RIAA (in millions).
Sounds great, except that early signs of a slowdown are coming from the indie sector. According to US-based, independent record store data tracked by StreetPulse, year-to-date vinyl sales are up just 2.98 percent. That is, despite a huge Black Friday LP-buying surge and a perfectly-targeted audience. "It's starting to peak, but Friday there were a ton of vinyl exclusives that sent the vinyl numbers through the roof," said StreetPulse CEO John Weston. "The numbers have been through the roof for the past 4 or 5 years."
And here's another problem: according to stats from Nielsen Soundscan, indie retailers accounted for 71 percent of vinyl sales last year. This is where a lot of the action is happening on vinyl, for obvious reasons, though we're not sure what's happening across more mainstream channels. Nielsen's end-of-year report may still show breakneck gains, but Weston thinks part of that could be coming from mega-retailers like Best Buy, who only recently joined the party.
And, Best Buy is a pretty huge place. Let's see how this unfolds.
roadie2 Thursday, December 01, 2011
It's tough to sell vinyl if the labels (indie and major) don't manufacture enough of it! The majority of titles are just not being manufactured and a consumer can't buy it even if they wanted to. Sales would dramatically increase if the vinyl was actually available to purchase...and you can't download vinyl.
Visitor Thursday, December 01, 2011
I disagree. You have to follow the scarce goods model to keep demand.
MarsBands.com Thursday, December 01, 2011
I agree with roadie2. While it's true that the majority aren't producing vinyl, there does seem to be an increase in the number of independent bands who are making vinyl an option to their fans.
I'm willing to bet that the resurgence of vinyl is more than just a fad. I think with the advent of the CD lots of people who preferred vinyl were alienated and it's taken musicians, large and small, until recently to figure that out.
I would say there's a pretty large demand out there for music on vinyl - the supply just isn't there because it costs more to produce.
gaettlersmash Thursday, December 01, 2011
This is really just a small amount and nothing compared to the CD or even download album. It could easily be a fad.
Jeff Friday, December 02, 2011
This is something that bothers me about all forms of reporting: Hyperbole. Vinyl sales might have been "booming" at one point, but compared to what? They represented less than half a percentage point of all music sales. I wouldn't call vinyl a "fad" since it has consistently been around for nearly 100 years, but I would now certainly call it a "niche" without reservation.
I realize that hardcore music nerds love vinyl. I do too. But let's not delude ourselves into thinking the average person is suddenly going to run out and buy a turntable this Christmas. A very, very small percentage of people who buy music will buy records. The vast majory will buy CDs and/or digital downloads.
Maxwellian Friday, December 02, 2011
I agree with some of that except for the part where Best Buy gets involved. It seems like this could go mainstream, whereas the indie base is just that --- the early crowd and trend setters.
rhythmhub Friday, December 02, 2011
Jeff I'm with you...I believe its a niche within a niche. I pick up Stereophile mag from time to time and it seems like folks who want that sound will pay big $$ for the equipment and the vinyl. Most are classical/jazz fans or collectors who are passionate about having a connection to this type of recording. A small dip in sales here and there is no big deal as the industry as a whole pays little attention it. It will be ok.
brooklyn habitat Friday, December 02, 2011
Be careful of things the industry wants so badly to happen. They often don't happen: paid downloads, CD sales recovery (yeah right), subscription, DIY, ringtone sustained revenues, list goes on.
jasper1226 Friday, December 02, 2011
I hear the wax cylinder is making a comeback.
Janice Friday, December 02, 2011
paul Friday, December 02, 2011
y-axis is millions, I just added that to the article. Sorry for any confusion.
Erik P Friday, December 02, 2011
Vinyl will be around for a long time come. Music fans still want something tangible and until there is a better replacement it will continue to grow, at least for a while. Sales will probably slow down eventually; but keep in mind, vinyl never really went away. Plus the younger generation is now (re)discovering what makes vinyl so great. Some of it may be a fad, but it started with true vinyl fans.
@hifidelics Friday, December 02, 2011
kind of, but not really.
alison Monday, December 05, 2011
I'd like to see a chart that shows cassette sales as well... I'm sure sales for cassettes are increasing, especially in the indie sector, which could have an impact on vinyl sales.